EMC ships availability software

By Kevin Komiega

—EMC began the next phase of its information lifecycle management (ILM) plan this week at its annual EMC World conference when the company unveiled a pair of network monitoring and application analysis tools aimed at improving uptime and efficiency in storage networks.

The two new products, both developed as a result of EMC's acquisition of software startup SMARTS last year, are the EMC Smarts Application Discovery Manager and Smarts Storage Insight for Availability. The tools discover and create a model of an end user's application environment and integrate with ControlCenter to automate the root-cause and impact analysis of availability problems across Fibre Channel SANs.

EMC's chairman, president and CEO Joe Tucci told the more than 4,000 customers, engineers and journalists in attendance at this week's conference that his company will spend approximately $1.2 billion on research and development in 2006 and a significant chunk of that spending will be in support of EMC's ILM strategy.

"This is the third year of ILM as our core strategy. This is phase three of our ILM strategy and it is very application specific," says Tucci. He also says EMC will debut more new products in 2006 than it has at any other time in the company's history.

The Smarts Application Discovery Manager is resource management software that provides a view into application behavior and interdependencies in an IT infrastructure. EMC says Application Discovery Manager is the jumping off point for more extensive application and infrastructure monitoring, analysis, and automation across the data center, which, in turn, can reduce operating costs, speed the troubleshooting process, and boost network reliability.

Some of the features of EMC Smarts Application Discovery Manager include native discovery of more than 500 applications, the ability to create port- and service-based applications, automatic application mapping, user-controlled configuration discovery using SNMP, SSH, WMI, Telnet and IP scanning and server and software configuration information.

The software does not require the installation of agents and, according to EMC, can be installed in about an hour.

Application Discovery Manager also has change-tracking capabilities through a real-time log of changes to application components, configuration files, deployed applications, file systems, installed applications, IP addresses, memory and patches. Application Discovery Manager also can capture change information related to settings in configuration files.

EMC says most customers have historically relied on manual tools to discover and map their application dependencies, which wastes time and personnel resources.

The other Smarts product to hit the streets this week, EMC Smarts Storage Insight for Availability, automates fault management for storage through integration with ControlCenter, EMC's flagship storage management product. The two management tools play off of each other to automate root-cause and impact analysis of availability problems across a Fibre Channel SAN, resulting in reduced downtime and mean time to repair.

Storage Insight for Availability uses data and the topology mapping directly from ControlCenter to discover SAN network elements and their inter-relationships. The product's analysis engine then identifies the impact of failures on different components of the SAN, such as hosts, file systems and logical data paths, as well as EMC's Celerra NAS systems and file shares.

For EMC, the issue isn't curing what ails a SAN fabric; rather, the real problem is diagnosing the illness. Dave Donatelli, executive vice president of EMC's storage platforms operations, says one-third of all storage outages are directly related to networks and access problems.

Smarts Storage Insight for Availability correlates events across the Fibre Channel infrastructure and can pinpoint SAN availability failures on devices, including EMC Symmetrix unit, volume, front-end director and port link failures; Clariion unit, volume, storage processor and port link failures; Fibre Channel SAN switches and port links; and HBA cards and port links.

Although available now, EMC has not disclosed pricing details for the new software products.

This article was originally published on April 27, 2006